Massive Underground Landfill Fire Nears Radioactive Waste

A massive, smoldering, underground fire at a St. Louis-area landfill is on the verge of coming in contact with radioactive waste dumped decades ago, and no one seems to know how to deal with it.  That’s what I learned during a public forum about the issue Thursday night in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights.

Rather than rehash who said what at the forum, I direct your attention to reports by KSDK reporter Grant Bissell (above) and Leisa Zigman (below) which combine to offer a snapshot of the most-pressing concerns of residents in North St. Louis County.

In short, a massive underground fire — which covers a subterranean area the size of three football fields — at the Bridgeton Landfill is about to come in contact with radioactive waste dumped decades earlier at the adjacent West Lake Landfill.

Why was radioactive waste dumped at the landfill?  Unbeknownst to many area residents, St. Louis was home to Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, a company that was the first to process uranium for use in our nation’s first atomic bombs as part of the World War II-era Manhattan Project.  After running out of space for the radioactive waste from their processing efforts, they began shipping it to other area locations, including the West Lake Landfill.  It remains there today.  On the surface of the Missouri River flood plain.  Exposed to the elements.

Click to read more reports in my coverage about radioactive waste in the St. Louis area.

Click to read more reports in my coverage about radioactive waste in the St. Louis area.

Aside from the long-term public health crisis involving what many residents describe as “cancer clusters” and other deadly affects of long-term radiation exposure, the most-pressing immediate concern is the fact no one on the planet seems to have experience dealing with this dangerous intersection where fire and radioactive waste collide.

As I stated in my most recent post, RADIOACTIVE WASTE CRISIS Like Plot From A Horror Film, I’ll be following the issues in North County closely.  Meanwhile, though I cannot attest to the accuracy of all of the information the websites below contain, I recommend you visit them to learn more about the potential scope of this crisis:

Coldwater Creek, Just the Facts Facebook Page;

Coldwater Creek Facts;

St. Louis Radiation Waste Legacy;

Weldon Spring Facebook Page; and

West Lake Landfill Facebook Page.

UPDATE 1/31/2014 at 7:09 p.m. Central:  Many of the members of the groups above are particularly in seeing the Army Corps of Engineers replace the EPA as the lead agency on cleaning up the radioactive waste sites in St. Louis.  If this news is any indication, I’d say they’re on the right track.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

RADIOACTIVE WASTE CRISIS Like Plot From A Horror Film

One might mistake it for a plot out of a horror film or a slow-motion Fukushima disaster:  Underground fires at one landfill move closer and closer toward radioactive waste dumped decades earlier at another landfill.  At the same time, thousands of citizens, including many already suffering from a plethora of what they believe to be radiation-related diseases, are seeking help from the “powers that be.”

Slide of Fires at St. Louis-Area Landfill

Representatives of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment presented an overview of the danger as underground fires at one landfill approach another landfill where radioactive waste was dumped decades ago.

On the evening of Jan. 15, I was one of almost 200 people who attended an informational meeting in Bridgeton, Mo., during which the issues above were discussed in great detail.  Among those in attendance were a handful of individuals who described how their lives had been changed forever by losses of loved ones to supposedly-rare cancers.  They were introduced as being representative of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of families in the area of North St. Louis County (a.k.a., “North County”) forever impacted in similar ways.

Yesterday, a fellow attendee at the meeting forwarded a copy of a 142-page report (PDF) published in May 1982 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  If you don’t want to download the entire report, however, the abstract alone is enough to cause you to pause.  Below, I share an excerpt from that abstract, complete with my red highlighting added for emphasis:

Click to download the 142-page report (PDF).

Click to download the 142-page report (PDF).

Results indicate that large volumes of uranium ore residues, probably originating from the Hazelwood, Missouri, Latty Avenue site, have been buried at the West Lake Landfill.  Two areas of contamination, covering more than 15 acres and located at depths of up to 20 feet below the present surface, have been identified.  There is no indication that significant quantities of contaminants are moving off-site at this time.

Fifteen acres of land contaminated with radioactive uranium ore residues at depths up to 20 feet below the surface and, oh yeah, elsewhere in the report in mentions that the landfill is in an alluvial floodplain, seemingly discounting the reliability of the last line in the excerpt from the 32-year-old report.

Click to read more reports in my coverage about radioactive waste in the St. Louis area.

Click to read more reports in my coverage about radioactive waste at the Weldon Spring Site in St. Charles County, Mo.

The NRC report is not, however, the first I have obtained about radioactive waste issues in the Show-Me State.  On Jan. 23, 2012, I was the only investigative reporter on the planet to report the existence of a then-new Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services report, known officially as the Analysis of Leukemia Incidence and Mortality Data for St. Charles County, Weldon Spring and Surrounding Areas December 2011 (Update to April 2005 Report) and unofficially as the “Weldon Spring Update” or “2011 Weldon Spring Cancer Inquiry Report.”

During the 13 months since publishing the first article, I published nine more articles (not including this one) in my series, Uphill Battle for Answers.  The two most-recent articles, here and here, introduced my readers to matters at the sites in North County.

Because of the intense interest surfacing in this subject matter, I’ve decided to expand my coverage of the issues in North County during the next year.  Until I begin sharing new reports, however, I suggest you read the Wall Street Journal‘s Dec. 29 report, Neighbors Fume at Radioactive Dump, by John Emshwiller and search online for other recent stories.

This will be interesting, so stay tuned.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Snow or Beach?

I woke up this morning and sent my wife some photos of the 6 to 9 inches of snow we’ve received in the St. Louis area since 9:30 p.m. Friday.  In response, she sent me a picture of the environment where she is today.  Snow or beach?  I think she has the better deal.  Agree?

Snow-BeachNuff said.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Help Me Find World War II Hero

While doing some legal gun trading Thursday, I struck up a conversation with Greg Grimes, co-owner of Trail Creek Trade Co., and the visit I expected to last about 15 minutes turned into a 45-minute stay during which I listened to a man tell me about a work of art adorning the wall of his antique firearms shop in the St. Louis suburb of St. Ann.

Do you know this man?

Do you know this man?

After negotiating the terms of a transaction involving two very old handguns, conversation followed and Grimes began to lament the declining interest many Americans have in guns as well as history in general.  A few anecdotes later, he directed my attention to a black-framed portrait of an American Soldier hanging on the wall and an associate of his lifted it off the wall and brought it over.

Grimes proceeded to tell me he came into possession of the framed artwork after a friend, who had rescued it from a pile of things bound for a dumpster and then held on to it for a decade, gave it to him.  Since then, it has hung on the wall at the gun shop.

In addition to the fact that the artwork features a pencil sketch of an American Soldier, several other aspects make it special:

• It appears to have been drawn and signed by one of the German POWs for whom the Soldier was responsible;

• It features an honorable message (i.e., “In memory of your prisoners of war”) between one-time adversaries in a horrific war;

• It bears a date, 2 June 1945, that came only 25 days after the date on which hostilities in Europe came to an official end (i.e., “V-E Day” or “Victory in Europe Day”); and

• Finally, the back side of the portrait bears what appears to be the signatures of a total of eight German POWs, one of which matches the signature of the artist on the front.

I asked Grimes if he had ever tried to locate any of the people whose names appear on the piece, front and back.  He said he had, but without success.  That’s when I told him I would take photos of the piece and share details about it with my online readers, readers of my nonfiction books, Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO (both of which can be ordered here), my contacts in the traditional and non-traditional news media worldwide and with my friends in patriotic and veterans organizations.

I don’t know if the man in the portrait is still alive, but my goal — and that of Grimes — is to see that the portrait is returned to this man or to a member of his extended family prior to June 2, 2015, the 70th Anniversary of the date on the portrait.  To accomplish this goal, we need your help.

Did You Know This Hero LoRez 11-02-13If you recognize him, please send details to me via email at BobMcCartyWrites (at) gmail (dot) com or leave a comment below.  If you do not recognize him but want to help, please share this information far and wide.  Thanks in advance for your help!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Author Advises Albert Pujols ‘Don’t Take A Polygraph Exam!’

I have a word of advice for Major League Baseball phenom Albert Pujols:  “Don’t take a polygraph exam!”

Albert Pujols

Artwork by C.C. McCarty.

I base my advice, in part, upon what I learned during the past four years while conducting an exhaustive investigation of the federal government’s use of credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph.

In fact, I consider myself informed enough to offer my advice to Pujols, the former St. Louis Cardinals star now playing for the Anaheim Angels, as he deals with an allegation and a follow-up challenge, both of which were tossed his way recently by Jack Clark, a former MLB player who, until he uttered his allegation on air, was working as a small-time sports radio personality in St. Louis.

Clark alleged Pujols had used performance-enhancing drugs while playing professional baseball.  Then, after Pujols filed a lawsuit to counter Clark’s claims, Clark issued Pujols a challenge.  According to a Village voice blog post published today, Clark offered to take a polygraph exam and challenged Pujols to do the same to settle Clark’s on-air claim that Pujols used performance-enhancing drugs:

New DawnIf Clark fails the test and Pujols passes, the letter states, Clark will “issue a public statement… fully retracting all objectionable statements.” If Pujols fails and Clark passes, Pujols must drop the defamation suit and publicly apologize to Clark. And if they’re both found to be liars, the suit gets dropped and “neither party needs to apologize to the other.”

Why do I advise Pujols against taking a polygraph exam to prove his innocence?  Because too many people have already been burned by the polygraph and many others — including experts in the field — bemoan the federal government’s continued misguided reliance on the flaw-ridden, century-old technology for which a plethora of countermeasures exist.

Rather than rely on the polygraph, I advise Pujols — and Clark — to rely on a non-polygraph technology for which no countermeasures exist.  Details about that technology can be found in my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

It’s available in paperback and ebook versions and comes highly recommended.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Gov. Rick Perry Says ‘American people will defund Obamacare’

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) received a warm welcome and did not disappoint attendees at CPAC St. Louis 2013 when it came to sharing his views about ObamaCare.  After speaking to a large crowd of conservatives at CPAC Saint Louis 2013 early Saturday at the St. Charles (Mo.) Convention Center, he spoke with reporters about the health care overhaul set to go into effect Tuesday.  See video below:

“I’m like a lot of other people (who say), ‘You’ll negotiate with the leader of Iran, but you won’t even sit down with Republicans in the House and the Senate and try to find a reasonable middle ground on that?’” Governor Perry said.  “So, yeah, I think they ought to defund ObamaCare, because it’s not gonna work.

“The reality is that either Washington, through the course of the next few days will defund ObamaCare during the next few days or the American people will,” he continued.

Though the long-time Texas Republican refused to answer directly as to whether he would be making another presidential run in 2016, he sure sounded like a candidate today.

SEE ALSO:

Governor Rick Perry Talks Voter ID, Jobs, Government Shutdown; and

Conservative Political Action Conference Draws Political Heavyweights to Saint Louis.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Conservative Political Action Conference Draws Political Heavyweights to Saint Louis

Conservatives from across the Midwest descended upon the St. Charles (Mo.) Convention Center in suburban St. Louis to hear political heavyweights from across the country speak at CPAC St. Louis 2013.

Dana Loesch Emcee CPAC STL 2013

St. Louis’ own Dana Loesch served as mistress of ceremonies during the morning hours at CPAC St. Louis 2013 at the St. Charles Convention Center Saturday.

St. Louis’ own Dana Loesch served as mistress of ceremonies during the morning hours and helped welcome a number of high-profile folks to St. Louis.  Among those who made it to St. Louis were Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Lt. Col. Oliver North, USMC (Ret.).

Below are some of the pictures I captured at the event.

Perry Presser 3 CPAC STL 2013

Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) addresses members of the news media after speaking at CPAC St. Louis 2013 Saturday.

With Sen. Mike Lee R-TX CPAC STL 2013

I had the opportunity to discuss my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) Saturday outside the main event hall at the St. Charles Convention Center. The senator serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Todd Akin CPAC STL 2013

Former 2nd District Congressman Todd Akin (right) chats with Carol Wessel Boyer of Troy, Mo., outside the main event hall at the St. Charles Convention Center Saturday.

SEE ALSO:

Governor Rick Perry Talks Voter ID, Jobs, Government Shutdown; and

• Gov. Rick Perry Says ‘American people will defund Obamacare’.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.